Singer, on Mueller: He “grabbed my ass”

The su­per­star took the stand Thurs­day morn­ing

The Denver Post - - DENVER & THE WEST - RJ San­gosti, The Den­ver Post By Danika Worthington

Tay­lor Swift’s hour-long tes­ti­mony Thurs­day may have fea­tured the high­est num­ber of times the word “ass” and “cheek” were heard in a court­room.

The pop singer took the stand first thing in the morn­ing as part of her civil trial with David Mueller. Mueller sued Swift and oth­ers on her team, claim­ing they cost him his job. He’s not asked for spe­cific mon­e­tary dam­ages, but an ex­pert wit­ness de­posed by his lawyers es­ti­mated his losses at $3 mil­lion. Swift coun­ter­sued, al­leg­ing sex­ual as­sault, and is ask­ing for a sym­bolic $1 judg­ment.

Swift was com­posed on the stand, spar­ring with Mueller’s lawyer, Gabe McFar­land, dig­ging her heels in and mak­ing the gallery — and one or two ju­rors — chuckle. She also took ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to say some­thing along the lines of, “your client reached un­der my skirt and grabbed my ass.” Swift’s lawyer did not cross-ex­am­ine her.

Mueller pre­vi­ously tes­ti­fied that when he and his girlfriend en­tered the meet-and-greet photo booth, his girlfriend told Swift that they worked at the ra­dio sta­tion KYGO. He said Swift prac­ti­cally ig­nored him, talk­ing an­i­mat­edly with his girlfriend.

He said Swift called for the photo sud­denly, caus­ing Mueller to jump in at the last sec­ond and jos­tle with her arms. He has re­peat­edly in­sisted that he did not in­ap­pro­pri­ately touch her.

Swift had a dif­fer­ent story. She said the two came in and Mueller was the one to an­nounce that he was a ra­dio host at KYGO. Swift thanked him for what he did, the three talked briefly and then it was time for the photo.

At this point, all three were stand­ing in a stan­dard photo po­si­tion when Mueller grabbed her rear and hung on. She said she moved to­ward Mueller’s girlfriend in an at­tempt to get away and looked un­com­fort­able. Swift said there was no jump­ing in — “it wasn’t an ac­tion shot” — and no arm jostling.

After­ward, Swift said her per­son­al­ity turned off like a light switch. Look­ing at the ground, she gave her cus­tom­ary thank-you, and an­other group of fans were com­ing to meet her. When the meet-and­greet ended, she told her team what hap­pened.

McFar­land pushed Swift on points that he has raised ear­lier in the trial, but Swift seemed pre­pared with ei­ther a re­sponse or a quip.

Did any­one see Mueller grab her be­hind? Swift said the ac­tion was “devious” and “sneaky” be­cause the only thing be­hind Swift was the photo tent’s wall. To have a di­rect line of sight, some­one would have to be un­der her skirt, Swift said, “and we didn’t have some­one po­si­tioned there.”

Her se­cu­rity guard said he saw Mueller put his hand un­der Swift’s skirt, but he didn’t re­act. Was Swift crit­i­cal of his lack of re­sponse?

“I’m not go­ing to blame (the se­cu­rity guard) for some­thing Mr. Mueller did,” she said.

Couldn’t Swift have said some­thing at the time? Swift said fans were al­ready on their way. They would have heard some­thing if she told her team and she didn’t want the word to get out. She also didn’t want to ask the fans to leave, which would make them feel un­com­fort­able and ruin their ex­pe­ri­ence.

But, McFar­land pushed, couldn’t she have done some­thing?

“Yes, and your client could have taken a nor­mal photo with me,” she replied.

Swift rarely lost com­po­sure, al­though she did lash out to­ward the end of her tes­ti­mony, as McFar­land ques­tioned her about how she iden­ti­fied Mueller.

She said that af­ter her dec­la­ra­tion that some­one grabbed her, her pho­tog­ra­pher im­me­di­ately knew who it was and went

to the photo.

McFar­land asked if it would have been bet­ter to go through all the pho­tos to make sure it was the right per­son.

“I don’t need you to grill me about tiny de­tails in a photo and if I did a po­lice line-up,” she said.

Ear­lier, McFar­land had been ask­ing Swift what her re­ac­tion was to Mueller’s fir­ing. She said she had none be­cause he was a stranger. McFar­land pushed her, though, say­ing this was a man she said as­saulted her.

“I’m not go­ing to al­low you or your client to make me feel that this is in any way my fault, be­cause it isn’t,” she said, adding that she didn’t care if a “strange guy” lost his job. “I’m be­ing blamed for the un­for­tu­nate events in his life, which are a prod­uct of his de­ci­sion, not mine.”

The trial con­tin­ues Friday and is sched­uled to last un­til Aug. 24.

Brooke Jon­son waits in line Thurs­day to get a seat at the Al­fred A. Ar­raj Court­house in Den­ver to view the fourth day of a civil trial to de­ter­mine whether a ra­dio host groped pop singer Tay­lor Swift.

Jeff Kandyba, The As­so­ci­ated Press

In this court­room sketch, pop singer Tay­lor Swift speaks from the wit­ness stand dur­ing the trial Thurs­day. Swift tes­ti­fied Thurs­day that David Mueller, a former ra­dio DJ, reached un­der her skirt and in­ten­tion­ally grabbed her back­side dur­ing a meet-and-a-greet photo ses­sion be­fore a 2013 con­cert in Den­ver.

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